Where – and Why – did Retirees Move in 2021?

You’ve had a long (and hopefully successful) career, seen the loved ones around you grow up and leave the nest and now it’s time to prepare for that next big journey — life after work. 

So where are retirees finding home today? The stats may surprise you. United Van Lines 2021 Annual National Movers Study revealed that almost 20% named retirement as a reason to move – a percentage that has been trending up since 2015 (13%). Bloomberg.com cites an estimate by St. Louis Federal Reserve economist Miguel Faria-e-Castro that the pandemic forced up to 3 million Americans to retire earlier than planned, while the Pew Research Center found that the percentage of people 55 and over who have retired is now at an all-time high of 50%. United Movers Study also backs that data up with their own numbers illustrating 54% of movers are over the age of 55. 

That’s a lot of retirees. So, where are they going? The overall trend uncovered in the United Movers Study reveals that they are leaving big population centers for warmer climates, smaller cities and towns and a lower cost of living. For example, 77% of those nearing retirement age in New Jersey plan to move out of the state, a full 23% of them to the state of Florida.  

Top Inbound Retirement States

  1. Florida (39%)
  2. South Carolina (37%)
  3. Arizona (36%)
  4. Delaware (34%)
  5. Idaho (29%)
  6. Nevada (29%)
  7. Wyoming (28%)
  8. Mississippi (28%)
  9. New Mexico (27%)
  10. Maine (27%)

Top Outbound Retirement States

  1. Rhode Island (38%)
  2. New Jersey (36%)
  3. Connecticut (33%)
  4. Wyoming (30%)
  5. New York (29%)
  6. Illinois (29%)
  7. Ohio (28%)
  8. Maryland (28%)
  9. Michigan (27%)
  10. Maine (26%)

While it’s really no surprise that Florida, the Carolinas and Arizona are popular choices for retirees, it’s also significant that the Northeastern U.S is experiencing an unprecedented exodus of over 55’s. There is a clear migration pattern away from expensive real estate, higher taxes and crowds. For retirees, maintaining their standard of living means moving to where that’s possible.   

Recently, Forbes magazine looked at 800 American cities and towns — considering factors such as housing costs, taxes, healthcare, air quality and climate change and put together a list of the top 25 cities for retirees. No surprises here: cities in Florida, the Carolinas, and Arizona were consistently named among the best choices. But the overall go-to town for retirees? According to  CNN, it’s just outside of Orlando: The Villages, a retirement community in Sumter County, Florida. 

Want to learn more about what motivates people to move? Dive into our 2021 Annual National Movers Study and check out our blog for moving tips, expert packing advice and a wealth of information to help you settle in. 

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